Dry Weather Delaying Strawberry Plantings in North Alabama

Clint Thompson Drought

By Clint Thompson

The current dry weather is delaying strawberry plantings in North Alabama, says Eric Schavey, regional Extension agent in Northeast Alabama.

Hands holding harvested strawberries. Photo taken 02-05-20.

A lack of rain this fall means growers don’t have adequate moisture to keep their beds properly shaped. Producers are more than a week behind in getting their plants in the ground as a result.

“It’s slowing us down on making our beds for strawberries. Our strawberry growers right now are really struggling at having enough moisture to get their beds made. We’re 10 days past when we needed to be planting. That’s been an issue,” Schavey said. “You don’t need it saturated, but you need moisture to get those soil particles to stick together enough to shape.”

Prolonged Drought

Eric Schavey

According to Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, all of North Alabama is moderately dry, while most of the areas in other parts of the state are abnormally dry.

Unfortunately, the dry weather in the region is expected to worsen. Pam Knox, University of Georgia Extension agricultural climatologist, believes there will be little, if any, rainfall through the first week of November.

“In places we’re dry. I got an inch of rain at my house the other day which put me at 6.2 (inches) at 130 days. We’re dry,” Schavey said. “I talked to (my farmers) some (last) week and they’re having to redo some of their beds and trying to bring a water truck over them to just try to get moisture on them to get their beds filled.”